Freedom House Labeled Belarus as "Worst of the Worst"
Washington-based think tank Freedom House was unimpressed by liberalization recently declared by Belarusian authorities. Fair enough - Belarus does not have a single TV or radio station which would be critical of the its government. Poland did a good job in supporting Belsat, the only independent TV station broadcasting to Belarus, but its influence is still marginal. Watching Belsat requires a satellite dish or Internet - a luxury which most Belarusians cannot afford. Although a few independent newspapers are still allowed to circulate, their impact is negligible. Government-tun newspapers are heavily subsidized and state institutions are required to subscribe to them and to force employees to do the same.
Constant repressions against journalists and media turned Belarusian information landscape from a flourishing garden of early 1990-s into a desert. It is not surprising that Belarus is the only country in Europe which Freedom House put on its list of shame:
Worst of the Worst The world’s 10 worst-rated countries are Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In these states, independent media are either nonexistent or barely able to operate, the press acts as a mouthpiece for the regime, citizens’ access to unbiased information is severely limited, and dissent is crushed through imprisonment, torture, and other forms of repression.
Read Freedom House press release at freedomhouse.org.